gingertimelady: (magen david)
Anti-semitism is on the rise in the United States - and around the world. So, my progressive friends, here's what the Jewish community needs from you right now.

1. We know that criticism of Israel doesn't necessarily equal anti-semitism. So can you please stop with that? We know.

2. Before you criticize Israel, ask yourself this:

- am I invoking anti-semitic tropes (e.g., dual loyalty, Jews using disproportionate influence, conspiracy theories)?
- am I holding Israel to a double standard?
- am I criticizing policies, or the people as a whole?

3. Please don't view anti-semitism as less of a heinous belief than racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc. Yes, it is just as bad. And just as deadly.

4. When your Jewish friends say they've experienced anti-semitism, DO NOT second guess it. Listen to them.

5. Similarly, if you are called on something anti-semitic, LISTEN. DON'T say "I checked with my Jewish friends and they said it's okay." DON'T say "But I've read the history." LISTEN and CHECK YOUR PRIVILEGE.

6. Realize that Jews come in all colors, shapes, sizes, abilities, etc. Not all Jews benefit from white privilege. Realize that even Jews who MIGHT benefit from it experience it only on a conditional basis.

7. Finally, stop playing Oppression Olympics. Everyone loses.

Thank you.
gingertimelady: (really 900 years old)
Yesterday, thanks to a generous Purim gift, I was able to replenish my supply of the various lotions and potions that make up my morning beauty routine. This is a good thing; I do this about once a year (that's how long they last). It's not that they're fuck-you priced, but they aren't cheap either - however, because they keep my skin healthy and glowing (and more importantly, my beauty routine helps me feel good), they are definitely worth it.

People often ask me how I pass for ten years younger than my actual age. I joke about subsisting on the blood of virgins, but you all know I kid. (Virgins are in short supply around here.) Honestly a large part of it is good genetics, and in that, I'm fortunate. But as for the rest...I post it here. Also for my benefit, as an aide memoire.

Morning Routine:

1. Brush teeth, floss, rinse with Listerine. Not strictly part of skin care, but I do it now so I remember! Also I want to keep my teeth.

2. Lip scrub: ChapStik plum blossom lip scrub.

3. Clean face and neck: Garnier SkinActive Soothing Face Milk.

4. Eye cream: Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream.

5. Neck cream: L'Oreal Revitalift.

6. Face cream: Olay Regenerist Lotion SPF 50.

7. Lip balm: SPF Rx SPF 30.

8. Hand cream: Neutrogena Norwegian Formula.

And I'm good to go. If it's been particularly dry inside, I'll stick a little Vaseline up my nose to prevent nosebleeds.

Night routine:

1. Brush teeth, floss, rinse with Listerine.

2. Lip scrub, as above.

3. Clean face and neck, as above.

4. Eye cream, as above.

5. Neck cream, as above.

6. Face cream, L'Oreal Age-Defying Rosy Tone Moisturizer

7. Lip balm, just good ol' plain Vaseline.

8. Hand cream, as above.

I do face masks, eye masks, and lip masks once a week. For my body, I slather on Curel Hydratherapy just out of the shower, or else Aveeno as needed. In the summer I slather on Aveeno SPF 50 everywhere. I also wear prescription sunglasses all year round.

So yeah, my beauty secrets are out. Can't just rely on good genes to look youthful. Moisturize and protect yourself from the sun.
gingertimelady: (queen of cups)
This might shock people who know I'm quite a religious person, but I honestly think that a non-spiritual or non-religious path is just as valid as one that is. I believe that the benefits one derives from spirituality or religion can be equally derived from a humanist outlook, and thus...well, basically, I believe that whatever path one is on is great if it makes you happy and you're not being a dick to people. (Whatever path you follow, Wheaton's Law applies.)

But something I've gotten from atheists that bothers me is the statement "I don't need an Imaginary Friend to tell me right from wrong." The implication there being that I, as a religious person, do. And while I'm pretty sure that's not what they mean, it still smacks of condescension.

See, I don't think people need religion to tell right from wrong. I think that most people can do that instinctively, and the ones who can't have a name - sociopaths. Yes, I was raised in a religious household, but I was also taught that one doesn't do right expecting a reward. Virtue Is Its Own Reward, folks. No one gets cookies for basic decency. I was also taught that you don't do the Right Thing because God said so. You do the Right Thing because it's the Right Thing, full stop, end of story. (And I'm sure you'll find plenty of clergy in all faiths who agree with me on that point.)

So to me, the implication that because I'm religious I lack a moral compass without recourse to Holy Scripture is HIGHLY offensive. It's not that I don't abide by the laws and precepts of my faith, but to me they're more an aide memoire and affirmation of conscience. I follow them because I choose to follow them, not because I need to be told how to be a Good Person.

I do have empathy with people who choose a path of non-religion, and I think it's absurd that people tell them that they can't possibly have a moral compass without religion. And I think that if they say something like that, it's more a reaction to being shit on constantly by religious bigots than an intentional slur directed at people who do have religion/spirituality. The thing is, I believe that we all of us - religious people and non-religious people - as a rule want the same thing: to, as Bill and Ted put it, "be excellent to each other." I mean, every faith expresses the Golden Rule somewhere, and people of no faith by and large live by it.

I think we'd all get all lot more done together if we affirmed that the vast majority of us, religious or no, are people of conscience. This applies to religious and non-religious people alike. We all of us need a moral compass, too, and that's something that has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with being human. Where you find your moral compass is up to you, as long as you find it within yourself to Be Excellent To Everyone.
gingertimelady: (Default)
So, in the past year, two people have cut me out of their lives. One, last summer, and one, last week.

That's a radical step to take. Declaring someone Persona Non Grata (henceforth abbreviated PNG) is, to me, the very last resort to deal with someone's behavior or beliefs.

Do I think these were justified? In short, no, and I'll illustrate why by showing you two people who did declare me PNG and were entirely justified in doing so.

Both D and T cut me off completely around 2011. And frankly, they were entirely in the right. While I, personally, would not view what I did as unforgivable I can also see why they would have found it so. Had I a friend in a similar situation who said, "This person did this," I would absolutely tell them to go no-contact. I don't bear a grudge about this. I would not, today, try to speak to them. If they were to speak to me, I would definitely welcome being forgiven, but would probably not seek to become bestest buddies. Too much has happened, and I would probably limit contact to Facebook friending, the occasional email, and a phone call now and again - not for my sake, but for theirs, to avoid causing them undue distress. As it hasn't happened, I am at peace with it. I regret it deeply, and would hope that one day they'd forgive me, but again, I understand completely. I think that my behavior was certainly, in the context of friendship, felonious, and thus I think their actions entirely appropriate.

Last summer's incident, though, was more what I'd classify as a misdemeanor offense. Basically, I was cut off for running off at the mouth: making inappropriate remarks. I did apologize for them, but that was not deemed sufficient. Fair enough. I don't hold a grudge here either (as a rule I try to avoid them these days), but if the person in question were to re-establish contact it would be sticky for me. I think I would forever be walking on eggshells around this person, afraid of causing offense.

Last week's incident was when a person cut me off based on my political views. This person and I agree on 99% of stuff politically, but one issue was apparently eating at them and when I refused to capitulate on it, I was summarily cut off (with some nasty remarks about my tendency to "play the martyr," accusations of emotional manipulation, and implications that I never admit wrongdoing thrown in). This one hurts a lot. In particular I feel that a person not of my ethno-religious identity would not be subjected to such a thorough interrogation on this one issue, and I also feel that the conversation around it was highly problematic and full of unfortunate remarks (pro-tip: it's never a good look to say "I checked with other people of your ethno-religious group and THEY say I'm not being problematic").

As I'm a person who examines myself regularly, I had to ask, "What's going on here? Am I a legitimately shitty person, or do I just hang around people who are a bit too trigger happy to PNG someone?"

After some soul-searching, I've come to the conclusion that in the first cases where people cut me off nearly eight years ago, I did a legitimately horrible thing and deserved every bit of it. In the third case, I feel that I did a moderately shitty thing. People are free not to accept apologies, even when they're sincere, so no harm no foul there. The last incident, however, I honestly feel was not something that could have been avoided no matter how angelic a person I was and was entirely on the other person.

So I'm not, in the final analysis, THAT shitty a person. At least, I'm no shittier than most. This is hardly a good thing; I'm always seeking to better that. Given that my therapist has brought up the possibility that I struggle with scrupulosity (something usually found in people with OCD but according to him not uncommon in religious people with any flavor of mental illness - and since he's an ordained minister in addition to being a psychotherapist he would know), and I think he's onto something, it shouldn't have to be said that all the above is incredibly painful. A lot of my intrusive thoughts involve my inadequacy as a human being - but not just as a human being, as someone who strives to be Godly. And I think that accusing someone dealing with scrupulosity of "playing the martyr" in an incredibly scornful tone is a low blow (but to be fair the person in question doesn't know about scrupulosity or my own struggles with it).

I suppose there are lessons to be learned here. In the first incident where people cut me off it's pretty clear. Don't do horrible things to yourself, thinking you're the only one affected. That is the height of selfishness and insensitivity. Second incident? It pays to be careful with words. Words mean things, and once said can't be unsaid. And apologies might never be accepted, even if sincere (but that doesn't mean you shouldn't apologize, but only if you mean it). Third incident? Sadly, there's no moral to be derived there. I don't feel like a martyr to a cause or belief, for the record, despite what they may say. It's just sad.

However, Lord Sacks, former chief rabbi of the Commonwealth, offers a bit of wisdom that applies here. "You will find much in life to distress you. People can be careless, cruel, thoughtless, offensive, arrogant, harsh, destructive, insensitive, and rude. But that is their problem, not yours. Your problem is how to respond," he writes. And he goes on to say, "Don’t hand others a victory over your own emotional state. Forgive, or if you can’t forgive, just ignore." Persona non grata status in my mind should be reserved for those who we cannot forgive but only ignore. It's pretty crushing to be in that position to someone you care for, especially for offenses that are - in your mind, and seemingly objectively - misdemeanors at worst. But the words apply to everyone equally, so my choice is simply to forgive. I am not going to hold a grudge at someone's misconceptions of my character.
gingertimelady: (bugger this)
Saw Dr. Borgos on Monday. Apparently I'm not absorbing vitamins and minerals properly. He thinks he knows why, but he's not 100% sure, so he's sending me for more testing and referring me to a GI specialist.

I would like to address a few things here, numbered for your convenience, in no particular order.

1. As Dr. Borgos is not 100% certain about what is going on, I am not planning on making any major changes in my diet until I do know, and then, only if recommended. Sure, they could make it better. They could also make things a lot worse.

2. Some of you will have ideas for ways I can improve my diet, but I refer you to item #1.

3. Harping on my supposed eating habits is rude, invasive, and none of your business.

4. No, I did not "bring this on myself."

5. In fact, don't make suggestions. Just, please, tell me you're thinking of me, and if you can't help it, just don't bother, okay?
gingertimelady: (bucky's little birdy)
Oh, yes, Mr. Smells-Like-A-Brewery, telling me to "hurry up, bitch" is totally gonna get me to hurry up.
gingertimelady: (Default)
I've been open about having Borderline Personality Disorder. But something I've not discussed is where that originated. And it's pretty clear, now, after many years in therapy.

My mother was herself a borderline. My father may have been one, too (I'm pretty sure his sister is) and I know damn well his mother was a borderline.

Some people say it's genetic. There may be some truth to that. But unfortunately I think it has a lot more to do with nurture than nature. My bipolar disorder is one thing; that was a lot to do with nature, given the genetics of both sides of my family. (It goes fairly far back in my family tree - on my mom's side, which I've been able to trace more easily, it goes back at least three generations.) Personality disorders are far more on the nurture side of the equations. They're the behaviors we learn to cope with aberrant situations.

So where else would I have learned the charm, the manipulation, the splitting, the impulsivity, the lability, the excess, the addiction to drama?

If you know my mom, it's a no-brainer. If not, well....

Mom is an incredibly beautiful, charming, attractive woman. She's also a master at gaslighting and persuasion. You always know where you stand with Mom. Either you're the best person in the world, or lower than the scum of the Earth. She makes decisions on the fly, has a hair-trigger (and terrifying) temper, and is prone to theatrics. She never drank to excess, but she loved her cigarettes and her pot and her retail therapy, and she carried on an affair with a married man for 30 years after my dad died.

That's me, too. Or, rather, that was me. I did all those things (well, bar the affair and the extent of pot-smoking; my chosen excesses were junk food, self-injury, and - like her - retail therapy). I managed to break the cycle with years of cognitive-behavioral therapy. I'm still a borderline, but I'm in recovery. I still struggle with junk food (I have a pizza on the way), cigarettes (smoking one now), and retail therapy (love me some online shopping). I've managed to quit self-injury by way of substituting a self-soothing routine of beauty products and skin care. But it requires constant mindfulness, constant checking, constant self-examination.

Mom is resistant to all that. She briefly saw a therapist when I was 14, and we briefly did family therapy, but in both cases she was fired by the therapist. You read that right. Now, the therapists were diplomatic and managed to put it in a way to assuage Mom's colossal ego, but they couldn't work with her because she refused to see anything wrong with her, or her Golden Child/Mascot my brother, but put everything on me, the Scapegoat Child/Lost Child.

As a result, I've had to learn how to love people and form healthy relationships. It's not easy. Love and forgiveness did NOT come easily to me. And I've come to realize that while I love my mom because she's my mom (the Torah says "Honor your father and mother," and that doesn't have a clause "only if they're healthy and nice to you"). However, I feel little attachment to her as a mother. I feel far more like a daughter to my current foster parents, Mark and Cher. I've forgiven Mom, and I choose to keep in contact with her, but she's not a Mom. She gave birth to me and raised me, but she's not a Mom. She didn't know how.

She does love me, in her way. I don't believe that borderlines are incapable of love. Unfortunately, unconditional love is something where they fail miserably. It's not her fault. Borderlines aren't made in vacuums. "They fuck you up, your mum and dad." Her parents treated her badly. She was the Scapegoat Child herself, and I have a lot of compassion and empathy for her.

I think on some level she knows. She'll deny it to her dying day but unconsciously she knows.

I once asked her why she named me what she did. Anna after her great-grandmother, Rose after her great-aunt.

"I named you after the only two people who ever showed me unconditional love," she said.

*sigh*

Dec. 10th, 2018 08:48 pm
gingertimelady: (jean-paul sartre)
Got to remember that telling my mom to forgive people is a lot like pissing in the wind.

Hmmm.

Dec. 4th, 2018 08:23 am
gingertimelady: (queen of cups)
Saturday Josh and I went for waffles and hung out afterward.

"You look nice today," he said.

I took stock. I was wearing cargo pants, a tank top under a blue plaid button-down, with a dark gray cardigan over top. Doc Martens. Minimal jewelry (earrings and ring). Hair down. No makeup.

"Thanks," I said. "Remember, it's hard work. I don't have much natural beauty to work with."

"Bullshit," he said. "You're beautiful. And you're prettiest when you are like today."

Something to be said for a man who thinks I'm at my prettiest when I'm dressed down and makeup-less. And yes, he thinks I'm beautiful. Don't think I'd ever forget his spontaneous declaration that I was beautiful last February, even though it was after I'd taken my glasses off.
gingertimelady: (in memoriam)
As all of you probably know, I lost my dad when I was five years old, on 17 April 1986 (that's 8 Nisan 5746 by the Hebrew calendar - one week before Passover). What does that have to do with Chanukah?

Well, the morning of my dad's death, the last conversation I had with him was about Chanukah. See, my brother and I hadn't had Chanukah with our parents the previous December; we'd been staying in upstate New York with our Bubbe, due to the fact that our mom was seriously ill with hepatitis and our dad, with his numerous disabilities, could not care for us alone.

I remember asking him how we were going to celebrate Chanukah in December.

I can't imagine what he was feeling then. He had already consumed his fatal overdose a few hours earlier and given that it was intentional, had to have known he was not long for the world. He had to have known he would never see another Chanukah with his kids.

But I was asking, and I was his daughter, the apple of his eye, his eldest, and (yes) his favorite.

He reassured me that we'd have Chanukah together, and went on, with his amazing creativity and storytelling ability, to paint a picture of a Chanukah that was almost like a fairy tale. And I felt a lot better.

That afternoon, he died.

He could have been noncommittal, could have evaded the question, could have changed the subject, could have said he wasn't feeling well and we'd talk about it later. But he didn't. He reassured me. Yeah, he lied. But he did it because he loved me. And now I know that however flawed he was as a person, however screwed up and sick (mentally and physically) he was, he loved me.
gingertimelady: (in memoriam)
It arrived today.

It doesn't look like much. A 3 mm wide silver band, size 9. Plain on the outside. But he tended to eschew unnecessary ornamentation as it was.

His name engraved on this inside. Roman font, given name only, accent placed correctly.

This is likely the closest to a wedding band I'll ever wear. I'm okay with that.

He's okay with it, too.
gingertimelady: (ask a glass of water)
Why do people get notoriously unsafe coffee enemas when you can get the same effect from simply drinking a couple of cups of coffee?
gingertimelady: (queen of cups)
*walks into Rite-Aid for melatonin and deodorant*

*walks out of Rite-Aid with two lipsticks, an eye and cheek palette, lip balm, a sheet mask...and deodorant and melatonin*
gingertimelady: (queen of cups)
"I worry, Dick. I mean, I think about what I have to do if some right-wing conspiracy-theorist nutjob comes into my synagogue guns blazing while we're trying to teach religious school. I already planned every way I could think of to get the kids out first and get them to safety. Am I being irrationally paranoid?"

"No."
gingertimelady: (queen of cups)
1. Living the rest of my life alone.

2. Dying 10 years earlier than my life expectancy.

Please don't tell me I'm being unnecessarily pessimistic or hysterical. I know myself too well, I've read the studies. Please don't give me platitudes. Just accept it, move on, and go on with your day. Thanks.
gingertimelady: (Default)
Some of you know more about this than others. But here it all is.

Over the past few months, I've been feeling more and more depressed. Basically, since my hysterectomy, I've been heading downhill.

It all came to a head late last month. I just kind of collapsed. No, I didn't go to the BHU. But I offered to quit my job. And the most amazing thing happened. They refused. They offered me a leave of absence (FMLA) instead. So that's what I'm doing. After that, well, I realized I had to get to the bottom of it.

A friend told me to see my gynecologist, but for whatever reason, I hesitated. I talked to Dick, and he thought it was a good idea, as did my psychiatrist, who also increased my Depakote (my Depakote level was low, so she had a good reason to do so). I called Dr. Coombes, who had done the operation, and she got me in for the soonest appointment she had. Which was today.

I went in not knowing quite what she was going to say. I told her what was going on. She also asked about other symptoms...apparently I've been having hot flashes. And night sweats. And...other stuff.

I am, she said, officially menopausal.

That wasn't supposed to happen. I still have my ovaries. And in most women who retain their ovaries, it doesn't happen. But when the uterus is removed, it cuts off half the blood supply to the ovaries. Most of the time there's a brief dip in hormones but the body compensates and it readjusts fine.

Not me. I don't know why this happened to me. But here I am.

Dr. Coombes prescribed Estradiol patches. Unfortunately my insurance is demanding prior authorization - probably due to my age, not many 37 year old women are menopausal - so this could take a few days. And there are risks with HRT, but Dr. Coombes feels that the benefits far outweigh them. I'll be checking my blood pressure weekly. But given that she's heard of women who had such a hard time with menopause that they attempted (and in some cases completed) suicide, I'm glad she's taking this seriously.

She says that I should be back to my old self soon.

Meanwhile, I'm taking self-care seriously. Yes, I'm doing seriously girly things. I get my nails done. I wear SPF 25 day cream and sunscreen. I put on night cream and eye cream and hand cream. I take walks when I can. I wear pretty outfits. I put on makeup and jewelry. I do my hair nicely, whether it's simply put up or more elaborately done with a barrette. And you know? It helps. It really does. If nothing else, it's a distraction.

And I have Miss Briony. She's good company. I have my friends. They've for the most part been wonderful. And Mom. She understands. All girls together, and she wasn't much older when she started menopause.

I'll get through this.
gingertimelady: (queen of cups)
I'll be completely upfront with y'all: I do read women's magazines. They're good light reading and fit easily on the back of my toilet. So yes, I have Cosmo. I have Glamour. I have Redbook.

I don't get a lot of style inspiration from them, to be honest. It's too flashy, too trendy. Frankly, it doesn't suit me or my sensibilities. Let me explain my sensibilities. Femme, most certainly. Quite feminine. But also practical pieces that will last and never go out of style. I don't want to look like the runway. I want to look eternally classic. That's just me; YMMV.

So I went all over the internet looking for inspiration, and it didn't take me long to figure out that I really liked the European style blogs and vlogs out there. Especially French ones. I really fell in love with the style. It resonates with me like nothing else. So today I'm going to discuss one of my favorite videos, that offers ten wardrobe essentials for French style, and my thoughts on them.

1. White, tailored, fitted button-down. Oh hell yes, this is amazing. I need either a new one or to get the one I have taken in quite a bit (this happens when you go down from a 28 to a 20). But yes, these are definitely key to the wardrobe.

2. An elegant blazer. I don't have one of these. I tend to go more for cardigans when I want to wear a jacket, to be honest, but I could see getting one in navy or black. I need to get some advice on whether to go single or double breasted, and how it should be cut to flatter me.

3. A good pair of flats. I do have these. I am a big fan of flats, because they're comfortable and cute.

4. Black dress. Doesn't have to be "little" - just flattering. And yes, I have one. A black wrap dress. Wrap dresses are a godsend to every woman.

5. Basic t-shirt. In black, white, and your most flattering colors. Fitted, of course. This is golden advice.

6. Turtleneck sweater. I don't personally like turtleneck sweaters, because I have a short neck. However, I do love regular pullovers for layering in all kinds of colors. Currently my favorites are a black and white patterned one, and a plain black pullover. I also love cardigans.

7. Well-fitted dark blue jeans. I am a devotee of dark rinse skinny jeans. They are so flattering. That is all.

8. A big scarf. Of course! In winter I wear my Tom Baker scarf, which is whimsical, unique, and keeps me quite warm and toasty here in the North Country. In other seasons, I wear my lightweight scarves. They're versatile, they add a pop of color right next to your face...what's not to like?

9. A purse for everything. Yeah, I have one. I love it.

10. Black stiletto heels. No. Just no. I have my limits.
gingertimelady: (Default)
I think that, when people tell me that they don't see me as any different from anyone else, they have good intentions. But saying things like "mental illness is a Big Pharma conspiracy" and implying that I don't have an illness? That is, essentially, denying who I am as a person.

I'm a loony. Crazy. Nutter. Call it what you like. (As you can tell, I'm not a fan of person-first language.) The point is, my mental illness is a part of me. It puts challenges in my path. I have to do things to cope with those challenges. For me, that means taking my medication. It means seeing my therapist once a week. It means relying on an arsenal of coping skills, practices, habits, and other things. It means I need a cat to pet, exercise, regular trips outside my flat, writing, contact with my friends, work.

Saying to me that you don't see me as any different from anyone else is well-intentioned. But it's missing the point. I am different. Just because it isn't visible doesn't mean it doesn't exist. You don't exist in my head for the manias where my thoughts run so fast I can't keep up, where I don't sleep for five days straight, where I have the attention span of a mayfly, where I have no appetite. You don't hear the voices in my head telling me I'm useless, I'm worthless. Or the ones coming out of the radio, or perhaps the movies I watch, and sometimes the television shows, too. You don't exist in my head for intrusive thoughts that are gruesome. You don't exist in my head for the blackest depressions, where I can't get out of bed or move for days. You don't see the times when my emotional pain overwhelms me so much that I have to cut and burn my flesh or pick at my skin until it bleeds.

Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder aren't all bad news. Both correlate with artistic talent and creative thought. I'm an empathetic person. I'm introverted, but I'm also quite charming. I'm a charismatic performer onstage. I don't think I'm all these things in spite of my condition, but because of it.

Still, in order to make fullest use of my talents and assets, I - like other disabled people - need accommodations. I need medication and psychotherapy. I need accommodations at work because - due to bipolar disorder - I have certain deficits with executive function. I also have physical conditions that need accommodation. I have a seizure disorder, and people around me know what to do (and what not to do) when I have a seizure. I don't drive. I take medication for it. For a time I had issues with balance, and to accommodate that, I used a cane. No one blinked much (much) at that.

It's funny. If someone told you "I have cancer," would you say, "Well, you don't look like someone with cancer." Or if someone mentioned that they had diabetes, would you say, "Are you sure that you have diabetes? You don't seem different to me. Do you really need Metformin?" Perhaps someone needs a wheelchair to get around. "You're not different from anyone else. I'm sure you could walk around if you wanted to!"

I subscribe to the social model of disability. This model says that disability is caused by the way society is organized, rather than by someone's impairment or difference. Rather than focus on changing people's differences and impairments, it focuses on removing those barriers that keep people with impairments, ailments, differences, and mobility difficulties from being integrated into society.

That's all very nice, well-intentioned people say, but what does that have to do with mental illness and specifically you with something like bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder?

My medication removes barriers. My psychotherapy removes barriers. Recognizing my differences helps me obtain those accommodations that remove the barriers to my independence and well-being.

Mental illness is no different from physical illness. Mental illness is no different from a physical impairment to mobility.

I cannot wish away my illness by flushing meds down the toilet and thinking happy thoughts. You can't do that for cancer. You can't do that for diabetes. And, as the late great Stella Young said, no amount of smiling at a flight of stairs will turn it into a ramp.

By telling me that I'm no different, you are denying that I exist. My illness is intrinsic to my identity and my being. It's in my brain. I can't remove my brain. I wouldn't want to! I don't think I'd want to cure my conditions even if I could. It's who I am.

So, yes, I am mentally ill. I am crazy. I'm a loony. A nutter. I'm actually rather proud of it. Don't deny it. When you deny my conditions, you deny me. Full stop.
gingertimelady: (queen of cups)
Sadly, no pictures, but a description of today's First Femme Experiment.

Hair

Pretty minimal. I don't have product (need to get a not-crunchy hairspay and perhaps some other stuff - recommendations for inexpensive good products for fine, wavy, color-treated hair welcome) or a hair dryer (though I have one coming in the mail) so I just let my hair air-dry after my shower. I brushed it out and used simple clips to pin it back on each side and, once the makeup was on, brushed the fringe onto my forehead. Easy peasy.

Makeup & Skin Care

First I cleansed and moisturized. I use Olay for both. I use Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream and Aveeno Body Lotion. I prepared my lips with Lush Rose Lollipop Lip Balm.

Here's what I used for makeup:

Foundation: Maybelline Fit Me! Dewy & Smooth 115 Ivory SPF 18
Powder: Maybelline Fit Me! Set & Smooth 120 Classic Ivory
Blusher: Maybelline Fit Me! 25 Pink Rose
Eyebrows: Revlon Colorstay Brow Mousse 403 Auburn
Eyeshadow Palette: Revlon Colorstay 530 Seductive
Mascara: Revlon Dramatic Definition 251 Blackest Black
Lipstick: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Creme 660 Berry Haute

I skipped eyeliner, because I was going for a softer look. Only thing I fudged: not blotting and layering my lipstick, so it didn't last all day. The rest of the makeup was fantastic, though, and it came off fairly easily with Olay cleanser. I'm still going to invest in a makeup remover, though, as well as a night cream and an eye cream. I'm also going to invest in primer and concealer.

Clothes & Accessories

Skirt: black and white paisley just above the knee flippy skirt. Bonus: it has pockets!
Blouse: white tank top.
Cardigan: white 3/4 sleeve.
Shoes: black ballerina flats.
Scarf: teal and pink paisley.
Earrings: delicate, long pearl drops.

I thought I looked pretty fabulous. I got compliments from my neighbor (one of the non-creepy ones), the cabdriver (a non-creepy one), and from people I ran into at the hospital that knew me.

I was afraid the makeup would age me. It didn't make me look older. It didn't to my eyes make me look younger; just fresh and healthy. I was afraid I'd look OTT but I actually didn't; it was pretty restrained as outfits and makeup and hair go. It did take longer than I'm used to - it took about 45 minutes after my shower for my hair to get dry enough (not dry, but dry enough). Then it took 30 minutes to put myself together. So...not everyday. But I love it. And as for everyday, it doesn't take long to knot on a scarf, put in a pair of snappy earrings, slick on a bright lip, or put my hair up in my new butterfly barrette.

The best part: I felt me. Only more me. Like 110% me. And that's a good feeling.
gingertimelady: (queen of cups)
This year I have made a commitment to start paying attention to part of myself that I've been ignoring far too long: my inner girly-girl. I wanted to start being girly - wearing more feminine clothing, wearing make-up, doing things with my hair beyond coloring it and chopping it off when I get annoyed. So that's what I've been doing.

I think this dovetails nicely with my greater self-confidence and taking better care of myself. I've discovered that for me, being girly is self-care. It makes me feel good, feel better about myself. It puts a spring in my step. It's not a cure-all but it's a help, and when you're battling mental illness you need all the help you can get. It's another weapon in my arsenal of tools to fight my illness, dammit.

Well, there was a slight problem. I didn't quite know how to be girlier. What would flatter me? What colors do I wear? Should I grow my hair out? I needed a stylist.

Enter my friend Heather.

She knows clothes. She knows makeup. She knows hair. And she's honest, and she wants me to look my best.

So, I've figured out my best stuff, thanks to her. If self-indulgent blathering about such things bores you, scroll away.

Clothes: Cut

Dressing In General: This gets tricky. I am not a small girl in mass but I am definitely petite in height. So we figured out a few things. I have an hourglass figure. I have good legs. Yes, I'm a big girl, but so what? We threw the "fat girl rules" out the window and instead went with "hourglass figure," "good legs," and "petite height."

Dresses: Fit and flare is a great thing. Waist should always be defined. Wrap dresses are fantastic. She also encouraged me to go for shorter hemlines. Keep in mind that previously I was being daring if I wore a hemline at mid-calf. Now I go for knee-length and above - not always easy, given my petite height, but I can adjust as needed.

Skirts: Oddly enough pencil skirts are not my thing, even with a kick pleat or back vent. They don't look right and I don't find them comfortable. I prefer fuller skirts - skater skirts are great. Flippy pull on skirts are good, too. Again, I'm going for shorter hemlines, and so I look for above the knee. I still keep longer skirts for the appropriate occasions, but if modesty isn't an issue than I go for the shorter ones.

Other Bottoms: Vitally important to get trousers and jeans tailored to petite figures. Close fitting cigarette pants, skinny jeans, and paper-bag shorts are my go-tos, along with convertible cargo pants and shorts.

Blouses & Shirts: Tailoring is important here. Close-fitting but not too tight. Breton-stripe blouses are a favorite of mine. Button downs work, too. Flannels are still a favorite for cooler weather. Fitted turtlenecks for winter, fitted knit tops for summer. I also love cardigans and pullovers for layering. Tank tops are good too. I always wear a camisole under my blouses - just a personal thing.

Shoes: I remain stubborn here. Chuck Taylors for everyday summer wear, Docs for everyday winter wear, trail running shoes for hiking, sandals for days at the beach, flats or low-heeled riding boots for nicer occasions. I will not wear heels. I have my limits, dammit.

Colors

I'm a Summer. There are colors I can wear beautifully. And there are colors that make me look like I've been dead for a week. Black I can pull off as long as I have a pop of color near my face so I'm not washed out. Navy blue, gray, ivory, khaki - good neutrals. Pastels aren't bad, depending. Pinks? Most of them, and I like them. Blues? Oh, yes. Purples? It depends. Pastel green makes me look sickly, though, and yellow makes me look jaundiced. On the other hand, I can pull off dramatic colors like royal blue, teal, fire and ice red, and deep forest green.

Patterns

Horizontal stripes give me definition. I like paisleys and medium-sized florals. Big florals overwhelm me; tiny florals make me look old. I'm not a fan of polka-dots. Funky prints (stars, planets, other nifty stuff) are great.

Accessories

Jewelry: silver, rose gold, white gold. Nothing too big or blingy; it's overwhelming. Delicate filigree, small patterns. Small pendants. Earrings are great; studs work, as well as long ones that lengthen my face. I do wear a man's wristwatch, but that's a personal thing - I prefer them.

Other Accessories: Scarves are amazing things, aren't they?

Makeup

This was something where I had to have Heather with me to consult on the best shades, because I have tricky skin. Good skin (which many people envy), but tricky in coloring: fair, but with pinky-blue undertones. So we went with the following:

Foundation: Maybelline Fit Me! Dewy & Smooth 115 Ivory SPF 18
Powder: Maybelline Fit Me! Set & Smooth 120 Classic Ivory
Blusher: Maybelline Fit Me! 25 Pink Rose
Eyebrows: Revlon Colorstay Brow Mousse 403 Auburn
Eyeshadow Palette: Revlon Colorstay 530 Seductive
Eyeliner: Revlon Colorstay 202 Black Brown
Mascara: Revlon Dramatic Definition 251 Blackest Black
Lipstick: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Creme 668 Primrose
Lipstick: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Creme 660 Berry Haute
Lipstick: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Creme 720 Fire & Ice

Hair

Cut: Last November, when I got my annual trim, on impulse I asked for a sideswept fringe. I was tired of a center part and I read somewhere that sideswept fringe flatters round faces. To my astonishment, it really flattered me, taking years off my face, and I was delighted. Since then I've decided to grow out my hair but keep the fringe. However, it's now in that awkward grown out stage where it's too short to put in a ponytail but long enough that it can be a pain in the ass. Today we got some transitional products: clips, a pretty barrette, and hair bands to keep it out of my face. Otherwise it's doing a lot better: wavy, healthier than ever. Although I could really use a hair dryer now. That's on the list.

Color: I changed this on Heather's advice. I wanted to stay ginger (she wanted me to go blonde), and I was stubborn. So we took awhile to find a shade that was ginger but that she thought would flatter my coloring. Finally we agreed on one: L'Oreal Excellence Creme 6R Light Auburn. On my natural brunette with gray, it came out beautifully, looking so natural. It makes my skin glow and, again, takes years off me. I couldn't be more pleased.

Outcome

I'm feeling a lot more confident in myself. Especially since I'm not doing this for a man, or to get a man. I'm actually seeing someone right now (which is an entry in itself), but David isn't really concerned with all that stuff. I'm doing this for me. It feels good. Now if I could just stop biting my damn nails!

I'm not quitting my Lad-ette tendencies, though. I still swear and drink beer. I still enjoy footy and rugby union and hockey. I still tell dirty jokes and laugh hysterically at farts. I still relish being one of the lads. I'm just exploring a side of myself that I've kept a lid on for years, a side of myself that I feel is genuine and real and authentically Anna. Nothing says I can't be both Lad-ette and Lady, and I am reveling in both.

So tonight I'm wrapped up in my robe, A/C on full blast, listening to the Sam Cooke station on Pandora. Life is good, considering that today I had both girl time with Heather and Kitty AND a wonderful date with David.
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